Amazon has today launched an accelerator programme for the UK’s small businesses and startups, aimed at providing them with digital tools to recover lost income during the coronavirus crisis.
Launched in partnership with small business support network Enterprise Nation, the Amazon Small Business Accelerator will operate a free online training programme for 200,000 businesses.
The programme will feature a test to diagnose what stage of growth each business is at, as well as offer a range of discounts and benefits from Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services and other outlets.
Amazon will also run a week-long bootcamp for up to 1,000 mostly offline businesses to help them expand digitally and trade online. The five-day live online course will include access to experts and networking with other businesses, as well as 12 months of support from advisers on marketing, operations and managing finances.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and by helping them we can help families, communities and the UK bounce back more quickly,” said Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK country manager.
“Many businesses have found their way through the crisis by providing goods and services online. Now the Amazon Small Business Accelerator with Enterprise Nation will provide thousands of offline and online businesses with the skills, tools and support they need to succeed in the digital world, to reach customers through Amazon or any other service.”
The programme arrives as the EU is said to be preparing to file formal charges against Amazon over its treatment of third-party sellers on its platform.
The European Commission will accuse Amazon of accumulating data from third-party sellers and using it to compete against them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The firm’s chief executive Jeff Bezos is also set to testify in front of a US Congress committee this summer as part of an inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by major technology firms.
Emma Jones, head of Enterprise Nation, said: “Coronavirus has presented serious challenges for startups and SMEs, and never have more businesses called out for help, particularly with getting online.
“This package of critical support will include tailored guidance for startups, recovery advice, and then tools for growth to help businesses weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.”